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NeighborImpact's food recovery program gets DEQ grant

REDMOND, Ore. - Late last month, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced a Materials Management Projects grant award of $50,000 to NeighborImpact's Food Bank, specifically the food recovery program.

The food recovery program recovers produce, dairy products, bread and meat from 18 grocery partners, transporting the food in refrigerated trucks to NeighborImpact's warehouse for distribution to 42 emergency food sites, i.e. partner agencies, in Central Oregon. Each month, this effort feeds approximately 20,000 local residents. 

This highly competitive grant application had the support of multiple community partners including Deschutes County Commissioners, Oregon Food Bank and Deschutes County Solid Waste Department. 

Of direct interest to the DEQ, the food recovery program targets food waste, keeping 50 tons of usable food from rotting in landfills every month.

NeighborImpact's food recovery program meets the materials management goals developed by the State of Oregon, reaching the top of the state's solid waste and materials management plan hierarchy by preventing waste from reaching the landfill in the first place.

NeighborImpact handles waste in the preferred manner by gleaning edible food and delivering it to residents for their use. Higher in the hierarchy than re-use, recycling, energy recovery and disposal, the program reduces food waste, thus representing the highest and best use of materials.

The DEQ grant will fund some costs for fuel, truck repairs and maintenance, wages, licenses and insurance. The grant will help food-insecure residents, who will continue to receive fresh, healthy food on a regular basis.

NeighborImpact's partner agencies -- food pantries, shelters, churches, etc. -- will also benefit by expending fewer resources collecting food themselves. The grant has an impact on local grocery stores that donate food by reducing waste and disposal costs. Finally, communities will see a benefit from decreases in material waste, landfill costs and greenhouse gas emissions. 

"No other organization in Central Oregon addresses large-scale food recovery, redistribution or food waste reduction," says Carly Sanders, Food Bank Manager at NeighborImpact. "NeighborImpact distributes more fresh food to more locations throughout Central Oregon than any other agency. Beyond providing food, this unique program advances DEQ and community priorities relating to reductions in solid waste, greenhouse gases and landfill costs."

For more information on NeighborImpact's Food Bank or this grant from the Department of Environmental Quality, please contact Carly Sanders at carlys@neighborimpact.org or 541-323-6548 or visit the website at http://www.neighborimpact.org/services/food/.


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